[Maniac] takes the basic idea from the previous film and then runs energetically into an entirely new direction, upping the slasher game by crafting a first-person you-are-there narrative structure that in large parts makes this effort the Enter the Void of B-grade exploitation terror.
I didn’t dislike Man of Steel, not at all, but I just as readily didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I wanted to, either. Nothing about this latest Superman iteration captivated me, none of it connected on an emotional level, and while the action theatrics fly considerably higher than any previous adaptation the shortcomings found in the human department frustratingly kept the project as a whole from soaring.
Yet what it’s talking about, the thematic subtext behind all of this horrific carnage and depravity, that does have basis in the here and now, and one could easily imagine certain talking points coming from the mouths of various political candidates and television cable news hosts sounding terrifyingly similar. Say what you will about either movement but the heart and soul of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party did bring about conversations about wealth disparity and cultural (and corporate) privilege in this country, those ideas taken to a grotesquely unsettling extreme in the world imagined by DeMonaco.
In the end, Now You See Me isn’t anything to get worked up about one way or the other, and while I’d never recommend the watching of it I have this sneaky suspicion it will play rather well on Cable television for viewers with short attention spans and other things on their minds.
It’s ebullient and joyous but still laced without the proper amount of pain and pathos, everything working in incandescent tandem with its various pieces in order to make the movie come alive to its own free-flowing beat. Make no mistake, Frances Ha is a stunning achievement, an exercise in pure cinema that’s as rare as it is spectacular.
Problem is, after so much build up, after a great introduction to the possibilities of doing something fresh and original with characters many of us might think have done it all, the movie doesn’t just drop the ball it pops it with a bobby pin leaving its shriveled and lifeless husk out on the playing field like bits of discarded garbage. The last third of the movie is an insult, having characters do things, not because they need to, but more because having them do it just calls more attention to the fact the filmmakers are repeating in their own mirror-world way what has already happened before.
His version of the story might not be perfect, might not know at all times exactly what it is it wants to say, but it understands the source material in an intimately intoxicating way other adaptions have sadly lacked. This movie feels like it needed to be made now, maybe even in this very way, this new take on The Great Gatsby a saga of artifice and excess worthy of deeper explorations.
Kiss of the Damned shows that Cassavetes is worth keeping an eye on, her gorily sexual debut a vampiric fairy tale the more I think about it the more in rapture of the film I slowly become.
While composed with a meticulous eye for detail, there is still the constant omnipresent sensation that anything can happen at any moment, these characters free to shape themselves as they naturalistically would if Something in the Air was actually taking place for real and not a vibrant figment of the director’s vividly alive imagination.